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    The AET programme is flexible in terms of study topics, research focus and timing of submission.

    Any Topic

    It is possible to undertake research in any area of theology and 24religious studies for an MPhil or a PhD within the Archbishop’s Examination in Theology (AET). This is with the proviso that the Academic Board is able to appoint a suitably qualified supervisor. AET has no teaching staff of its own, but we recruit supervisors from throughout the British Isles. Supervision is provided to standards set down by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).


    As research gets under way the focus of study may change, sometimes in significant ways and new research training needs may become apparent. These matters are addressed through our regular contact with students and supervisors and an annual review process. An initial topic turns into a working title and finally a title for the thesis to be submitted. If new supervision arrangements are needed these are put in place, with the appointment of a new or additional supervisor.


    Potential students can apply and begin their studies at any date in the year. It is possible to study full-time or part-time. An initial period of probation lasts from three months to one year, depending on progress. After registration on the MPhil/PhD programme an MPhil is completed within four years and a PhD within six. The Academic Board has discretion
    to extend these time periods and also to authorise periods of intermission.




    The AET supports students through supervision, research training and individual attention.


    The primary support for AET students is provided by the supervisor. A student can have up to six supervision sessions each year. Supervisors are well qualified to advise students working on academic research to Masters and Doctoral levels, in the processes of research and thesis writing as well as in the relevant field of study.

    Research Training

    Supplementary support is provided by the AET Research Training Committee through events at Lambeth Palace. There is an induction event for new students, with an introduction to studying with AET and to basic research skills. There is also an annual student seminar event, usually in June, at which students make short presentations of their work, meet one another and exchange ideas. Students are invited to attend the AET annual education event which takes place on the occasion of the award of degrees by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Students are also encouraged to put their own local support networks in place and where appropriate to join a society which relates to their area of interest. These societies (such as the Society for the Study of Theology and the Ecclesiastical History Society) provide means for engaging with other post-graduate research students and established scholars, through conferences and a variety of online and social media networks.


    The AET MPhil/PhD programme is limited to a maximum of thirty students. This means that support from the Academic Registrar and other AET officers is available on an individual basis. This allows the Academic Board to take each student’s individual circumstances into account as it monitors their progress at its termly meetings.




    The AET costs less than comparable programmes and financial support may be available.


    For the period of probation £500

    For registration on the MPhil/PhD programme £250

    Annual fee, chargeable from registration £1000

    Examination fee £600

    Other Costs

    Students are responsible for all other costs of study, including travel, and attendance at student seminar events (which are charged at cost).

    Financial Support

    Many students are able to get financial help from diocesan or denominational sources, or from charities.  AET has a small amount available for bursaries in cases of need.




    2016 AET PhD Awarded

    On Friday 02 September 2016 Archbishop Justin conferred the degree of PhD on Dr Paul Severn, for his thesis entitled, ‘The Christology of St Anthony of Padua’. In his thesis Paul demonstrates that, although the Christological thought of St Anthony of Padua is deeply embedded in the traditions of medieval scholarship, in the modern era his work - and particularly his integrative theological method - have gained renewed respect. 

    2015 Three AET PhD degrees awarded

    Archbishop Justin Welby presented PhD degrees to the Revd Robert Chapman, the Revd Lyndon Shakespeare and the Revd Antony Hodgson at a ceremony in Lambeth Palace Chapel on 8th September, 2015. Robert Chapman’s doctoral thesis was entitled, ‘Eucharistic Sacrifice as missionary gift in Mission-shaped Church’, Lyndon Shakepeare’s ‘The Material Body and the Managed Church: A Thomistic Vision of the Church in the Age of Organization’ and Antony Hodgson’s ‘The origins and evolution of suffragan bishops in the Church of England: A historical perspective’.

    2014 The Archbishop awards two AET PhD degrees

    The Rt Revd John Inge, chairman of the AET Council, on behalf of Archbishop Justin, presented AET PhD degrees to the Revd James Wellington and Fr. Luke Penkett at a ceremony in Lambeth Palace Chapel on 9th October, 2014. James Wellington’s doctoral thesis was entitled, ‘Christe Eleison! The Invocation of Christ in Eastern Monastic Psalmody c.350-c.450’ and Luke Penkett’s ‘Finding One Another in Christ: Ecumenism in the Life and Writing of Henri J. M. Nouwen’

    2014 Lecture on God’s Involvement with Evil

    Les Oglesby (AET PhD 2012) gave a lecture entitled, ‘God’s Involvement with Evil: Jung and Balthasar – A Dialogue’ to the Guild of Pastoral Psychology, London, in November, 2014, exploring Jung’s and Balthasar’s approaches to the reality of evil, to the question of evil in relation to the Trinity and to how each man understood the Cross providing insights about God and evil. The lecture has been published as a Guild Paper (No. 317, January, 2015).

    2014 Article published: C. G. Jung and Karl Stern

    Les Oglesby (AET PhD 2012) has published an article which offers a commentary on a recently discovered letter from Jung to Karl Stern. Jung’s hopes for a fruitful dialogue with Stern are based more in Jung’s own long-term desire for dialogue with theology than in Stern’s use of Jung in his own version of a Freudian approach to psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, there is common ground in a shared sense that this is an ‘imperilled age’. The possibilities for dialogue are set within a heuristic frame that reads Stern’s Christian personalism as a contextualising theology and Jung’s dialectical psychology as a reinterpretative project in relation to theology. This facilitates a discussion of the issues of metaphysics and psychology, teleology, and analogy. Whatever mutual benefit they might have derived from these areas of dialogue, their journey together might well have foundered once Jung’s own theological commitments had become clear.

    (‘Could C. G. Jung and Karl Stern “go a stretch together … with mutual profit“?’ InInternational Journal of Jungian Studies, 6(3), pp. 189-204, October, 2014,http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19409052.2014.925484 )

    2014 Book publication: Christe Eleison

    James Wellington (AET PhD 2014) has published Christe Eleison! The Invocation of Christ in Eastern Monastic Psalmody c.350-c.450 (Peter Lang). For centuries the Jesus Prayer has been leading Orthodox Christians beyond the language of liturgy and the representations of iconography into the wordless, imageless stillness of the mystery of God. In more recent years it has been helping a growing number of Western Christians to find a deeper relationship with God through the continual rhythmic repetition of a short prayer which, by general agreement, first emerged from the desert spirituality of early monasticism. In this study James Wellington explores the understanding and practice of the psalmody which underpinned this spirituality. By means of an investigation of the importance of psalmody in desert monasticism, an exploration of the influence of Evagrius of Pontus and a thorough examination of selected psalm-commentaries in circulation in the East at this time, he reveals a monastic culture which was particularly conducive to the emergence of a Christ-centred invocatory prayer.